We were asked to design a private home in Walton-on-Thames, which replaces a nondescript two-storey house. It sits on a road of large residential properties, many of which have been recently rebuilt in a Neo-Georgian style.
We have purposefully avoided a single monolithic mass, which could have appeared bulky or intrusive. Instead, we have split the house into two volumes to reduce the visual form.
By splitting the house in two, it allows the internal functions to be rationalised: the smaller volume to the South contains the social spaces (living, dining and kitchen), whilst the taller one to the North houses the more functional spaces (plant room, utility, study and garage). The entrance is located in the void space between these two cubes, where we have also created an open-tread staircase which allows light from both sides of the house to filter down into the hallway.
At first floor level there are three children’s bedrooms and a playroom / snug in the Northern part of the house, with the master suite and guest bedroom being located above the social hub to the South.
Externally, we have created a small courtyard at the front which provides a private sitting area extending out from the living room. This space is screened from the driveway, but allows morning and midday sun into the house. Large windows help to blur the boundary between inside and out, so that the courtyard feels like an external room.
The new house is to be built from brickwork, picking up on the materiality of neighbouring properties – but elongated long format bricks will give a more elegant, modern aesthetic. The brickwork is taken internally – running through the staircase void – to enforce the presence of the two separate volumes on either side of you.
The interiors have also been designed by Ström Architects, to ensure that they have a coherent relationship with the architecture. A simple material palette of stone floors, oak panelling and black metal, complements the brick of the building. The intention is to provide contemporary, robust and elegant interiors that offer a sense of calm, harmony, and reprieve from a busy world.
The house gained planning in June 2019, and we aim to commence on site in early 2020.